JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: September 1, 2013

Kentucky advances to National Championship (Image 1)

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Mark Wracher.

  • The actions taken (or not taken) by the NCAA become increasingly nonsensical.

    Case in point? Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and his punitive penmanship.

    Manziel admitted to the NCAA that he has signed hundreds, maybe thousands, of autographs on everything from pictures to helmets to whatever was thrust in front of him.

    He did much of it in hotel rooms rented by memorabilia dealers.

    But the NCAA could not find a money trail. Duh.

    So they tapped Manziel lightly on the wrist and told him he will have to sit out the first half against Rice. Thirty minutes with no parole.

    OK, they don't have any evidence that Manziel broke an NCAA rule, but they still punish him? What kind of sense does that make? It doesn't. The NCAA's Enforcement department is weak. It has no subpoena power, therefore they have to obtain voluntary statements from those who have knowledge of wrongdoing.

    Is Manziel going to, at some point, see financial gain after getting carpel tunnel syndrome from what he has done? You would be insane to think not.

    The NCAA's lack of power opens the gate for other high profile college athletes to get out the Sharpies and go to work.

  • By the way, a horse named Johnny Football ran at Saratoga this weekend.

    Well, actually the two-year-old was scratched in the third race over seven furlongs.  He refused to run after the NCAA was going to make him sit out the first two furlongs.

  • It was great to hear that my buddy, Ron Higgins, is taking a job as columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

    He will be doing a lot of writing on the Saints, LSU and the SEC. As a bonus, he and his wife Paige get to return what is home for the couple.

    He has wanted to be a columnist for years at the Memphis Commercial Appeal, but they never had the foresight to make his dream come true.

    His new position offers everything he ever wanted and no one I know in our business is more deserving. All his hard work over the years finally paid off.

  • ESPN got a jewel of a game Thursday night at Vanderbilt. The only downer was that many viewers in the Eastern time zone were probably asleep when the game ended at 1 a.m. EDT.

    It was bad enough for those of us in the Central time zone, especially for those who had to go to work Friday.

    Giles County's Bo Wallace made some clutch plays while running the Ole Miss read option. I thought the fast-paced tempo wore down Vanderbilt's defense in the decisive fourth quarter.

    Both teams played a lot of young players, many of whom were highly recruited.

    I told someone after the game that I came there to cover a football game, but ended up watching a Ping-Pong match. There was enough volleying back and forth to keep those in the sellout crowd glued to their seats.

    Ole Miss brought a ton of fans. I estimated there were more than 15,000 there who were wearing Rebels colors.

  • It was sad to learn of Bill Schmitz's death last week. He committed suicide by jumping off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa.

    Schmitz was an assistant with Watson Brown through much of his career, including at Vanderbilt. He was also an assistant under Brown at Cincinnati and Rice before becoming head coach at D-III Coast Guard Academy.

    He later was head coach at Austin Peay from 1996-02.

    Before taking his life, Schmitz taught history and was boys track coach at Land O' Lakes High School.

    Schmitz was 59 and leaves his wife Lynn and two children, Allison and Matt. Matt is a high school football coach in Kentucky.

  • The Titans final preseason game was one you really wanted to watch Thursday night in Minnesota. Minnesota and the Titans played starters sparingly, if at all.

    Still, the game broadcast by WKRN drew an overnight local rating of 14.17. According to Sports Director Cory Curtis the ratings were above 16 at halftime, then dropped as the game became totally meaningless.

  • ESPN's Thursday night SEC doubleheader was the second highest rated and third most viewed Thursday night season opener since 1999.

    The North Carolina-South Carolina game drew a 2.4 rating and 3.6 million viewers. The Vanderbilt-Ole Miss had 2.74 million viewers and a 1.9 rating.

    The Birmingham market led the way with a 12.8 rating for both games. Nashville had a 12.0 and Memphis pulled a 10.7.

  • In Sports Illustrated's NFL preview issue, it predicted Titans Chris Johnson will win Offensive Player of the Year.

    They see Alabama product Eddie Lacy of the Packers as the Offensive Rookie of the Year while their choice for Defensive Rookie of the Year was Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu of LSU.

    Patriots QB Tom Brady was the choice for MVP and Comeback Player of the Year pick is Redskins QB Robert Griffin III.

    Senior Writer Peter King predicts the Titans will finish 7-9, third in the AFC South and out of the playoffs. If that turns out to be the case, owner Bud Adams will likely make a coaching change.

    King has the Colts and Texans posting 10-6 seasons and losing wild card playoff games. He believes the Patriots and Seahawks make it to the Super Bowl with the Pats winning it. Maybe that Super Bowl ring will replace the one Russia's Vladimir Putin took from Pats owner Robert Kraft.

  • I was surprised to see the Titans place wide receiver-punt returner Marc Mariani on injured reserve. It is the only choice he has, although his shoulder surgery should be total rehabbed at some point in the season.

    On the plus side for Mariani, he knows the Titans want him even though he was caught off-guard to be placed on injured reserve in order to retain him.

  • I was less surprised to see them part ways with center Fernando Velasquez. He started several games at center last year and can also play guard. But it seems center Rob Turner caught the coaches' eyes in training camp and preseason and he will be the starting center for the season opener.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s